Updated: Sep 15, 2022
The 2022 NFL Season is right around the corner and fantasy draft season is heating up. As the final rosters are being set, and the final preseason games are wrapping up, it’s time to start looking forward to week one and beyond. Fantasy football is growing faster than Tyreek Hill shaking a rookie DB and there are really no true secrets any longer. Everyone knows the rankings, everyone knows the standouts, and everyone knows the guys to fade. Winning your league is more difficult than ever and likely takes a few bold moves throughout the season to get to the promised land. Bold moves take bold predictions, and bold predictions aren’t easy to hit on. Over the course of the next several days we will analyze one bold prediction for every team in the NFL. Today we tackle the NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys - Ezekiel Elliot finishes as a top 12 Fantasy RB on the season
Ezekiel Elliott is an absolute bargain in fantasy drafts with an average draft position of 29, being taken as the 16th running back off the board. Zeke appeared to have lost a step or two last season, but also played the bulk of the year battling a PCL tear. Oh, and he was RB6 overall in standard leagues. Even in a down year, battling an injury, and holding off an emerging Tony Pollard, Zeke still returned RB1 value. While there are a few things still working against him, there are a few silver linings in his situation as well.
Tony Pollard is still in the mix but also stands to see some work in the passing game. Amari Cooper is gone, and there isn’t a true proven option behind Lamb on the roster. That bodes well for Pollard, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t also bode well for Zeke. Zeke has averaged 275 rushes and 75 targets per season for his career. He’s only missed a few games due to suspension and his team playing for nothing. This also is likely Zeke’s last season in Dallas so there is no reason for Dallas to have any concern for his workload. This may be the last hurrah for Zeke, but he’s got one RB1 run left in those legs, however inefficient it might ultimately be.
New York Giants - The Giants won’t produce a single top 20 position player.
Pull up any major fantasy news outlet and one of the first things you’ll see is this is the Saquon redemption season. It isn’t. Don’t buy the hype. It’s a great story that Saquon is healthy for the first time in two years. But do we really trust that he can stay healthy with this group around him? Daniel Jones isn’t going to get better, the receiving corps is led by the ghost of Kenny Golladay, and the line, while improved, is still very inexperienced. While it may seem outlandish that the team won’t have a single top 20 position player, keep in mind that this happened just last season.
Saquon may be one of the most talented backs in the league, but he is anything but a sure thing at this stage in his career. The most promising player outside of Barkley is second-year WR Kadairus Toney. Toney failed to reach the endzone in his first season and mostly didn’t live up to his draft capital, however, he did show you what he was capable of with a monster game against Dallas with 10 receptions and 189 yards. Toney may take a step, but I don’t think he’ll be consistent enough to sneak into WR2 territory. With that being said he is the one Giant I am taking a shot on as he does present a pretty high upside for the 46th WR off the board.
Philadelphia Eagles - DeVonta Smith will outscore AJ Brown for the season
The Eagles made one of the bigger splashes of the offseason by acquiring AJ Brown via trade during the first round of the NFL draft and quickly signing him to a 100 Million dollar mega deal. This was a huge move for the Eagles which should help to open up the offense for Jalen Hurts. It should also help second-year man DeVonta Smith take another step forward this season. The Eagle’s desire to pass the ball was apparent last season, but to the credit of Head Coach, Nick Srianni, abandoned ship when it wasn’t working. AJ Brown is a huge upgrade over Jalen Raegor and Quez Watkins and the Eagles are primed to come out slinging right from the get-go. Both Smith and Brown should be viable, every-week options.
Brown will be the top target in this offense, but that will only make Smith’s job easier. Both receivers should put up similar numbers and accomplished this feat just a season ago with Smith finishing at WR 29 and Brown finishing at WR 32. Look for Smith to take a step forward in his sophomore campaign as he draws easier defensive assignments and a more pass-heavy scheme. Smith showed what he can do as a versatile weapon that can run the full route tree and has exhibited a great set of hands. The talent is all there for the former Heisman trophy winner, and now he won’t be the only productive offensive position player on the team.
Washington - Brian Robinson is the top rookie fantasy RB
When your head coach calls you a chameleon because you blend right in with the special teams, it has to give you some concern. That’s exactly what Ron Rivera said about incumbent starting RB Antonio Gibson. Gibson has had back-to-back top 13 seasons but has ceded a large portion of the early down work to rookie Brian Robinson in the preseason. It appears that a changing of the guard is on the horizon, and Robinson is built to handle the workload.
Robinson, an Alabama product who has sat behind Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris, and Damien Harris, broke out in his senior season rushing 271 times for 1,343 yards, and 14 TDs, along with 35 catches, 296 yards and 2 TDs receiving. Robinson is built like a mack truck and has bell cow written all over him. It’s doubtful he adds much in the passing game with JD McKissic and Antonio Gibson likely to eat up the bulk of the targets. Even with the lack of passing volume, Robinson has a real chance of eclipsing 1,000 yards and 7 plus TDs, numbers that Gibson put up just a season ago.
That’s it for today! Let me know a few of your NFC East Bold Predictions. Come back tomorrow when we talk about the NFC North and bring you 4 more Bold predictions.